Yesterday brought a brand new update to the Play Store, bringing the version up to 5.10.29. There are some new UI elements, even if most of us aren't allowed to see them yet, and we can now copy text from the what's new and description sections. Naturally, Google included a few hidden tricks and treats just waiting to be discovered. We can expect to see books organized by series, apps described with size, and some friendlier welcome and exploration messages.
Products on the Play Store have always been somewhat loosely organized, sticking mostly to simple categories and links to products by the same developers, authors, etc. Slowly but surely, new ways to group items have started to appear. The most notable new feature appeared earlier this year with movie bundles. Books are about to receive a similar treatment as Google Play is about to add support for organizing by series.
<string name="rate_this_book_series">Rate this book series</string>
<string name="content_description_book_series_title">Book series: <g id="title">%1$s</g></string>
<string name="content_description_thumbnail_book_series">Image of book series cover for <g id="item_title">%1$s</g></string>
Along with the strings, there is also a new layout named book_series_cluster_module.
This will make it a bit easier to track down all of the books that make up a full story. While it might not be that hard to find each book in the Game of Thrones or get caught up with the Hunger Games, this could be very helpful for expansive collections like Terry Pratchett's Discworld or any time where the authors differ from one book to the next.
There aren't any hints to suggest we're going to see special discounts on books purchased by series or that we'll even be able to buy them all in a single tap, but these things may be planned for the future.
App Size With Purchase
If you've got a device with fairly limited free space, the Play Store is going to lend you a hand monitoring your consumption. A few new strings point to much more visible apk sizes to be included with or next to Buy and Install actions.
<string name="buy_with_size">Buy <g id="price">%1$s</g> (<g id="appSize">%2$s</g>)</string>
<string name="install_with_size">Install (<g id="appSize">%1$s</g>)</string>
<string name="no_app_size">Not available</string>
The first two strings look like they will include size right on the buttons for purchasing and installing an app. The no_app_size string is probably going to appear in the description where size already appears, but it will probably be used when there are multiple apks for different variants.
All three strings are used by code, but I haven't seen them in my own testing. It's possible they only appear with a server-side switch, or they may not be live for anybody yet.
This kind of elevated exposure for app sizes could be a good way to remind some users that different apps and games can consume quite a bit of space, and might be encouragement to be a little more aggressive about removing unused apps. This may also go hand-in-hand with the upcoming Uninstall Manager that turned up in the last Play Store teardown.
I'm not inclined to call these special new features; but there are some new strings and images for things we'll see throughout the Play Store today and in the future, and they might be of interest to some curious readers.
We know there is a new onboarding flow that appears with the new navigation design (screenshots included below), but it's not accessible if a server-side switch hasn't been triggered for your account yet. For those that are curious, here is the new text. One thing to note is the large array of variations on the "Discover" text which mentions movies, music, books, and news. The correct string is chosen based on the types of content available in each country.
<string name="onboard_apps_games_text">A new home for apps & games</string>
<string name="onboard_apps_tab">Apps & Games</string>
<string name="onboard_center_button_content_description">Get started and continue to the Google Play Store</string>
<string name="onboard_center_button_label">Get Started</string>
<string name="onboard_entertainment_books_magazines">Discover books and news</string>
<string name="onboard_entertainment_movies_books">Discover movies and books</string>
<string name="onboard_entertainment_movies_books_magazines">Discover movies, books, and news</string>
<string name="onboard_entertainment_movies_magazines">Discover movies and news</string>
<string name="onboard_entertainment_movies_music">Discover movies and music</string>
<string name="onboard_entertainment_movies_music_books">Discover movies, music, and books</string>
<string name="onboard_entertainment_movies_music_books_more">Discover movies, music, books, and news</string>
<string name="onboard_entertainment_movies_music_magazines">Discover movies, music, and news</string>
<string name="onboard_entertainment_music_books">Discover music and books</string>
<string name="onboard_entertainment_music_books_magazines">Discover music, books, and news</string>
<string name="onboard_entertainment_music_magazines">Discover music and news</string>
<string name="onboard_entertainment_title">Explore Entertainment</string>
<string name="onboard_play_text">The store with all things digital—millions of apps & games, and an extensive entertainment catalog</string>
<string name="onboard_play_title">Welcome to Google Play</string>
New Refund Survey
The Play Store has had a complicated relationship with refunds over the years. While the return window has fluctuated wildly between 48 hours and 15 minutes, it seems to have settled on a fairly reasonable 2 hours. Now Google is going to actually ask some questions to get some context for why returns are really happening. Some new strings show us that refund requests are going to soon ask for reasons why we want our money back.
<string name="refund_reason_accidental_purchase">I purchased this item by accident</string>
<string name="refund_reason_defective">"Item is defective or doesn't work"</string>
<string name="refund_reason_fraud">"I don't recognize this purchase"</string>
<string name="refund_reason_friendly_fraud">Purchase was made by a friend or family</string>
<string name="refund_reason_remorse">I no longer want this item</string>
<string name="refund_reason_undelivered">"I purchased but didn't received this item"</string>
<string name="refund_survey_comment_hint">Please describe your issue</string>
<string name="refund_survey_dialog_title">Tell us about your refund request</string>
The options are mostly straight forward and cover the common situations like accidental purchases and an unexpected purchase by a friend or family member – read: "my kid did it." These also cover some interesting scenarios like a purchased item wasn't received, which probably covers expendable digital goods in games. There is even a "remorse" option when you realize it's just not something you actually wanted. It also looks like you can fill in your own reasons if you like. The options also closely match the 'Report a problem' link found in the Play Store purchases page on the web interface.
There's no sign that any of these actually lead to different results, but for now they appear to be for simple tracking purposes. Google will probably use the results to better tailor the experience for future purchases.
We've seen various cards in the past that direct our attention to different parts of the store. In this instance, we're going to see some new "Explore" cards coming that will focus on sending people to each of the entertainment sections: Movies, Music, Books, and Newsstand. While this isn't something new, per se, I found one slightly unusual aspect that I haven't seen in the past. The text for each of these guides includes both an "Explore" version and a "You explored" alternative, which suggests the cards will be fairly persistent rather than just disappearing like most cards of this nature do. I'm not sure that there's anything particularly special here, but it's a subtle deviation that caught my attention.
<string name="content_description_widget_hotseat_explore_books">Explore Books on Google Play</string>
<string name="content_description_widget_hotseat_explore_movies">Explore Movies & TV on Google Play</string>
<string name="content_description_widget_hotseat_explore_music">Explore Music on Google Play</string>
<string name="content_description_widget_hotseat_explore_newsstand">Explore Newsstand on Google Play</string>
<string name="content_description_widget_hotseat_explored_books">You explored Books on Google Play</string>
<string name="content_description_widget_hotseat_explored_movies">You explored Movies & TV on Google Play</string>
<string name="content_description_widget_hotseat_explored_music">You explored Music on Google Play</string>
<string name="content_description_widget_hotseat_explored_newsstand">You explored Newsstand on Google Play</string>
In case anybody missed it yesterday, here's the download link.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.
File Name: com.android.vending_5.10.29-80402900_minAPI9(nodpi).apk
Version: 5.10.29 (80402900)
Alternate Title: Play Store v5.10 Teardown: Book Series, App Sizes, And Surprisingly Minimal Vaguebooking